Will I have any expenses during my stay?
Participants need to have adequate funds to cover basic expenses while they are here, such as coin-operated laundry, personal items, entertainment, and phone calls.
What is the weather like?
The Berkshire Mountains offer lovely Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons where it is warm during the day and unusual to get overly hot, and evenings are generally cool but not freezing. Winters can be very cold and snowy (in the teens and colder), and participants should be prepared with appropriate clothing. Multiple layers are a good idea for wintertime.
What if I do not have a car?
There is no public transportation to nearby towns. Volunteers without cars can arrange carpooling with other volunteers or staff members for shopping or entertainment.
What is the area like and what activities are available in the local area?
The Kushi Institute is located in western Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshire mountains. Becket is a small town with a general store, post office, library, and arts center. Participants enjoy walking on the country roads, swimming in lakes, or hiking on trails. State forests are located within a 20-minute drive. Malls, movie theaters, museums, horseback riding, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, skiing, and other activities are within a 30-45 minute drive.
What should I bring?
If you are accepted as a volunteer, we will send you information about what to bring and other important details.
What are the living accommodations like?
Volunteers live either in our dormitory-style building or in off-campus accommodations within 1 mile of the campus. North Hall accommodations are single beds in either triple, double, or single rooms. The North Hall was formerly a Franciscan seminary, so rooms are generally small and Spartan. Single rooms are often not available for most volunteers. Bathrooms are shared along the hallway. Rooms do not have air conditioning, but generally do not get overly warm in the summer.
How are work assignments and schedules decided?
We determine which department volunteers are placed in based on our departmental needs as well as your experience, interests, and the dates you are available. Some departments do not accept volunteers for less than an 8-month or year-long commitment. Your department manager will give you a schedule each week. Though your hours will not exceed 40 hours per week, as we are open 7 days a week, your schedule will change according to departmental needs, including possible evening and weekend hours or split shifts. Volunteers receive at least 1 full day off each week.
What happens when I mail in my application?
When we receive your application, we will call you within a few days. During this call we will talk to you about the volunteer program to verify you understand what volunteering entails. After this call we check with your references. The time needed to check references varies according to the availability of your references to speak with us. From the time we receive your application to the completion of the application review process is usually about one week. Upon completion, we will contact you to confirm whether or not you have been accepted into the volunteer program, and to which department you have been assigned.
Can I fill out the application online?
Yes. You may also mail or fax your application.
Are the volunteer programs open to citizens of countries other than the U.S.?
Yes, as long as you have a U.S. green card or work permit.
Can I apply my volunteer time towards the cost of the Way to Health or other programs?
The only program which you earn as a benefit for volunteering is a 1-month long Level for each 17 week CRV volunteer session completed. However, if you have a serious health condition, Kushi Institutes Way to Health program is the program that would best serve your goals for improving your health.
Can I volunteer for less than one month?
A minimum one-month commitment is required.